Meeting with Prime Minister Xavier Bettel
Focus on European agenda
Growth, TTIP, migration – Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel have met to discuss the priorities of Luxembourg’s EU Presidency. Angela Merkel underscored the close friendship that links Germany and Luxembourg and assured the Prime Minister of her support.
Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Xavier Bettel at the Federal ChancelleryPhoto: Bundesregierung/Kugler
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg will assume the rotating Presidency of the European Council for a six-month period on 1 July. The priorities of Luxembourg’s Presidency will be to generate growth and jobs. However, other challenges of the moment, including continued migration flows and the TTIP free trade agreement with the United States of America will also be on the agenda. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on this at their meeting at the Federal Chancellery.
Investment package for growth
The Chancellor hopes to see an important surge in growth, in particular through the European Fund for Strategic Investments, which has a volume of 315 billion euros. “Luxembourg’s Presidency will do all it can, and Germany will support it, to ensure that the Juncker package for growth, which has now completed its path through the Parliament, can become reality,” she said. She also places her faith in investment in the digital economy and the Energy Union, she added.
Common agenda on migration
Angela Merkel and Xavier Bettel also discussed the refugee crisis. The unabated pressure on Europe as a result of the unchecked flows of migrants is a huge challenge, said Angela Merkel. “The German side believes that we need a fair distribution of refugees, but we are aware of the massive resistance to any compulsory measures of this sort in some member states.”
A great deal of sensitivity is called for when discussing the issue, from combating the factors that cause people to flee their homes in the first place, to saving lives and handling requests for asylum, said Angela Merkel.
Concentrating on a solution for Greece
The ongoing Greek crisis was also an item on their agenda. The Chancellor pointed out that she still aims to help Greece weather the sovereign debt crisis and remain in the euro zone. “I am focusing all my efforts on helping the three institutions to find a solution with Greece,” said Angela Merkel.
Implementing an EU data protection and privacy regulation
The Chancellor pledged Prime Minister Xavier Bettel her support in implementing the data protection and privacy regulation. EU ministers of justice and home affairs agreed on a draft on Monday after years of negotiations. Now the draft must be approved by the European Parliament.
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg will assume the rotating Presidency of the European Council for six months on 1 July 2015. It will be taking over from Latvia within the trio presidency (Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg). The trio presidency was introduced under the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon. Three member states work closely for a period of 18 months to ensure continuity and a smooth hand-over of the rotating presidency, and to facilitate long-term planning.
Tuesday, 16. June 2015